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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
The onslaught continues on the market's downbeat week, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has followed up on yesterday's losses with an encore performance. As of 2:30 p.m. EST, the Dow's shed more than 250 points, and all but a select few blue-chip stocks are deep in the red. Earnings season has produced a mixed batch of results so far, but despite the Dow's collapse today, two leading index stocks, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) and Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) , are soaring after releasing their latest quarterly numbers. Let's catch up on what you need to know.
Fear runs wild
The market's "fear indicator," the CBOE Volatility Index (VOLATILITYINDICES: ^VIX ) , continued its spike by jumping more than 18% today. Some analysts have proposed that this week, in which many indices are looking at tough losses, could be the beginning of a correction from last year's explosive market gains. Emerging markets have taken a tough blow since weak China data came out yesterday, and the shock waves have rebounded around the broader market.
That sure hasn't hurt Microsoft, however. The Windows maker's stock has jumped 2.2% to lead the tiny cadre of Dow gainers today after announcing that its fiscal second-quarter revenue jumped 14%. That was a new record at $24.5 billion and topped analyst expectations. Net income also gained slightly and likewise topped analyst expectations.
Surprisingly, some of Microsoft's more sluggish products managed to perform well in the last quarter. The Surface tablet, which has had only a minor presence in the mobile market for most of its young life, posted a particularly strong quarter of sales -- although Microsoft doesn't make a profit on the devices. Overall, Microsoft's devices and consumer hardware group, which includes the likes of the Surface and the Xbox console, posted a revenue gain of 68% for the quarter. While the launch of the new Xbox One console no doubt helped that figure, it's a strong performance nonetheless for one of Microsoft's less-heralded units and a strong counterpunch to the falling sales of Windows. Microsoft reported that Windows 7 and 8 consumer sales dropped 20% for the quarter.
Procter & Gamble's stock has racked up a gain of 2.3%. The consumer goods conglomerate didn't actually post particularly impressive quarterly results -- revenue climbed less than 1%, while net income plunged by 16% -- but the company still managed to top analyst profit expectations despite facing tough competition in its niche.
In particular, it's Procter & Gamble's optimistic look ahead that has investors feeling confident. The company said it expects strong top-line growth through the second half of this year, seeing organic revenue growth between 3% and 4% for the full fiscal year. Emerging markets have drummed up momentum for Procter & Gamble as of late, with developing economy sales jumping 8% in the most recent quarter. If P&G can keep that up, investors will welcome the company's results in quarters to come.
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